1998-02 Opposes the Construction and Use of Privatized and/or For-Profit Jails and Prisons

These corporations operate with minimal or limited state and local regulation and supervision. They depend on the Interstate compact between the corporation and the entity with which they contract.

The main purpose of these institutions is profit and not concern for the prisoner, victim, community from which the prisoner comes, or the community in which their institution is located. They do indeed have a negative impact on both communities. Adequate supervision that comes from the knowledge that local citizens are in the institutions for business and as employees and other capacities is one way for the local citizenry to be assured that the institution is functioning adequately. When the institution is states away there is no natural supervision. In like manner, they utilize the site local fire, police, hospital and other services and only provides low paying jobs and no real returns to the host community.

There is a real concern for safety and treatment of prisoners in such institutions. Medical and mental health care is limited if present at all. Physical conditions are stark, primitive, and heating and cooling in severe weather and other sanitary conditions are a low priority. There are few, if any, opportunities for rehabilitation, education, job experience, etc. If the institution holds local people, the persons from other areas are less likely to receive assistance. Religious support is limited and, in some cases, non-existent.

The families of inmates who are more often than not, tax paying, law-abiding citizens are unable to visit their relatives or must expend considerable funds for visits and phone contracts.

The inmates are disconnected from the legal system under which they are held. They are far from lawyers handling their cases. They do not always have access to legal materials from their own state. They are at a disadvantage in the case of appeals and other court interactions. They may travel for days or weeks, chained and treated poorly if they need to return to the court from which they are convicted.

We believe that such institutions are not beneficial to anyone but the owners who extract huge profits. The lives and safety of some inmates are endangered. Their families are placed in turmoil. The involved communities are impacted negatively. We believe taxpayer money is better spent providing, rehabilitation programs and better conditions in state and local institutions.